Welcome to my regular Thursday feature, Turning off the TV! In this feature I recommend books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both series and specific episodes.
The TV series this week is: The Tudors.
Following the life of King Henry VIII of England, infamous for his six wives, this series follows the reign and marriages of the Tudor king, in a way that you may never have seen him before.
The Tudor period has always been one of my favourite eras of British history. Not only was it one we frequently studied in school, but it is also one that has been covered time and time again by so many different people and mediums. Each monarch ruled in a totally different way, and it was also a time of great religious changes.It is therefore a very varied period of time to study, as well as one of great exploration and adventure. A pretty perfect setting for many books, no?
Looking for fiction?
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is set during the first half of Henry’s reign, covering his attempt to divorce Catherine of Aragon. It is actually told from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell, which could be interesting for fans of the show, a familiar story from a more ‘minor character’. After divorcing Catherine, Henry married Anne Boleyn – but supposedly he also had a bit of a fling with her sister, Mary. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory is told from Mary Boleyn’s point of view, and in fact much of Gregory’s writing is set during the Tudor period – I would highly recommend any of her books. I also wanted to include a book set after the reign of Henry VIII, for anyone interested in reading further into the Tudor period. Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir is about Lady Jane Grey, who was queen for nine days before being executed. She was nominated as successor by King Edward VI (son and heir of Henry VIII, who died aged 15) and was eventually convicted of high treason. Her story is a short and tragic one.
Or looking for non-fiction?
As well as being a writer of fiction, Alison Weir has written many non-fiction books on the Tudor period, a notable example of which is Six Wives of Henry VIII. If you’d like to learn more about the ladies in Henry’s life, then this is a great place to start. David Starkey’s Six Wives: Queens of King Henry VIII is another similar book, and Starkey is a very well-respected historian. Well, generally. My A Level history teacher hated him for some reason…